Brutii History

When a government no longer benefits the people, it is time to make a new one. In at least two cases, a Brutii ushered in some form of major political change. Both had a great impact on Rome, and are still rumored of today.

In pre-S.P.Q.R. times, the men called Romans were under the authority of the Etruscans. The Etruscans indulged themselves, supported by the slaves that the Romans were. However, it was not outright hostile - at least, not until the alleged death of a beloved Roman citizen named Lucretia.

The son, Sextus, of the Etruscan ruler of Rome, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, raped the woman. So distraught after the deed was done, Lucretia begged her family to seek revenge on her behalf, and then committed suicide out of shame. A man named Lucius Junius Brutus caused an uprising over the horrible occurrences. However, this was unexpected of Brutus, since he sold himself as an idiot to the sons of Tarquinius. Nevertheless, Brutus proved to be intelligent and forceful, exiling the family of the demented king when they returned to Rome.

After the Etruscans were utterly routed, Brutus was the one to proclaim the S.P.Q.R. at around 509 B.C. It is said that he, along with Lucretia's widower, became the first consuls of Rome. However, as with all accounts of Roman history, this is quite possibly exaggerated. Although, with that aside, the Brutii were still a proud family and stayed involved with the politics of Rome throughout its life.

Years later in 85 B.C., near the eve of the Roman Republic, another Brutus was responsible for the repulsion of tyranny. Marcus Junius Brutus, with the death of his father in 77 B.C., was adopted by his uncle Quintus Servilius Caepio, and Brutus took on his name, adding it to his own (Marcus Junius Brutus Caepio). When he was a bit older, Brutus allied himself with the Optimates against the alliance between Julius Caesar and Pompey, whom had killed his father. After defeats on his side, he issued an apology to Caesar, who then took the young man under his wing and added him to his own inner circle.

After Caesar had risen up as a dictator, Brutus feared the consequences of being ruled by another king, as his ancient ancestor had hundreds of years before. He conspired with others that did not support Caesar and killed the man. However, they were not punished for their crimes immediately. Mark Antony, the new head of state, granted them amnesty. It was not long, however, before he changed his mind, based on the outrage of the populace against the conspirators. Using Caesar's funeral as a tool, he spoke out forcefully against the assassination, forcing the conspirators to flee to the East to escape the vengeance of the citizens.

Now in Greece, Brutus and his fellow conspirator Cassius feared the retribution of Caesar's adopted son, Octavian (Augustus). They trained men to aid them against the attack that was surely coming, and they were correct to do so, for in 42 B.C. Octavian and Antony came to finish them off. Cassius and Brutus fought an indecisive battle, separate from one another. Brutus managed to defeat Octavian's army, but Cassius was defeated by Antony. Cassius, not knowing of Brutus' victory, killed himself.

After this conclusion, Brutus was reportedly afflicted by dreams of Caesar's ghost, dragging down the morale of himself and his regrouped army. Another attack was exacted upon Brutus by the combined armies of Antony and Octavian about two weeks later, and Brutus was defeated miserably. The cries of his friends to escape falling on death ears, Brutus killed himself after saying, "Escape, yes, but this time with the hands, not with the feet."

Both causes of these Brutii are honorable, and perhaps Rome owed them. Nevertheless, with Caesar dead after Marcus Brutus's assassination, the new Roman Empire under Augustus would fall corrupted within a few short centuries.